Canada: A Corrupt Petrostate

The 2009 Munk Debate will be held tomorrow night. The Globe and Mail is having some kind of pre-debate show live streaming "chatty" type-a-thingy on it's website where you can send in questions. And you can sign up to watch the debate free on the web at the Munk Debate website.

This year's debate will see climate liars... er... "sceptics" Bjorn Lomborg and Nigel Lawson face Guardian science columnist, George Monbiot and Green Party leader, Elizabeth May.

Should be interesting.

I don't know much about Lawson, but Lomborg is one of these soft-in-the-middle climate deniers. He's not like, say, Christopher Monckton who scoffs at the idea that people are warming the planet. Lomborg accepts the scientific consensus on this (up to a point), he just figures that based on his cost/benefit analysis, we would do better to invest in things like ending poverty instead of making massive investments in reducing carbon emissions.

Oh, and he also thinks that we should stay away from international treaties because we've been trying that route for 20 years and look where it's gotten us.

Gee, Bjorn, the lack of action on climate change couldn't have anything to do with chaps like yourself sowing discord and discouraging action on the subject, could it? You're not really being on the up and up when you say a particular solution won't work if you're the guy fucking with it?

As for the "feeding the poor instead of fixing climate change" thing.... it's a false dichotomy. We're not making such massive investments in solving the climate change problem that it's taking aid away from developing nations. In fact, all this line of reasoning he's been trotting out for the past decade has accomplished is to give developed nations (like ours) a good, compassionate-sounding rationale to not invest in reducing carbon emissions. Of course, we don't ever seem to make any corresponding investments in helping the developing world, either.

Still, Lomborg's style of scepticism is a tough one to debate as he'll be doing an end run around the moral highground. (I can almost hear him trilling, "All you care about is carbon. I care about people.") Plus, I think Lomborg's one of these guys who got into the denial game out of a desire to be thought clever and be loved. In a debate I could see him moderating his position just to stay on the audience's good side and to diffuse Monbiot and May's position.

Which brings me to Monbiot... Love his column. Can't say much more except that he has some choice things to say about Canada -- that, as the title of this post suggests, we're turning into a corrupt petrostate. And, I hasten to add, I agree with him.

And May... well... she sure would make a fine PM.

Christmas Boogaloo

Not sure if Shane is planning a rundown of his favourite Christmas-themed movies like he did with his month-long Hallowe'en extravaganza, but with December looming I thought I'd get our coverage of the holiday season off to a start with this post. (Break)

Oh. Yeah. That.

Something tells me the Saskatchewan Roughriders are going to come up with a new marketing slogan (Sportsnet) next season. You think? (Vancouver Sun)

Six in the Morning

1. HOUSING HELP HARDLY HELPING: More than a year after the Harper government announced $1.9 billion in social housing support, less than one per cent of the money has been spent. (Globe and Mail)

2. BATTLE IN SEATTLE 10-YEAR ANNIVERSARY: You know, back in 1999 when all those dumb kids took to the streets in Seattle complaining about how the globalized economy was all "oppressive" and "unsustainable", the media called them idiot idealists. I don't know. Here we are a decade later and I'm thinking they've been pretty well vindicated. (rabble.ca)

3. FOOD BANK USE WAY UP: 790,000 Canadians had to use a foodbank in March of this year alone. That's an 18 per cent increase over last year. (rabble.ca)

4. WAS THAT REALLY SO BAD? Experts are saying the second wave of the H1N1 flu may have peaked. So much for the first pandemic of the 21st century. No zombies. Zzzzzzz. The real tragedy is, someone mentioned that when you glance at H1N1 it kinda looks like HiNi (pronounced Hi-nee) and now the bug has started to disappear and I never had much of a chance to spread that meme around. Hini flu. Hi-neeeeeeeee flu.(Leader Post)

5. THIS IS WHAT THEY'RE CALLING A RECOVERY? They're saying the recession's over because the Canadian economy grew last quarter for the first time in a year. But by how much, you ask? A whopping 0.4 per cent. (Globe and Mail)

6. LET'S JUST PRETEND THAT GAME NEVER HAPPENED: No, seriously. I won't bring it up if you don't. (Leader Post)

Pick of the Day: ZZ Top

Better late than never, I guess. ZZ Top, as most of you doubtlessly recall, was supposed to semi-co-headline a show at Mosaic Stadium with Aerosmith on Aug. 9. Then in early August at a gig in South Dakota, Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler fell off the stage and broke his shoulder. That led to the concert being cancelled, and ultimately, the break-up of Aerosmith. Guitarist Joe Perry now has his own band, by the way, which hits Regina Jan. 28 in support of Motley Crue at the Brandt Centre.

Tonight, though, ZZ Top is rocking the Conexus Arts Centre. In the press material I accessed, there's no mention of a back-up band. Mind you, with nearly 40 years in the biz, the Texas-based blues-rock trio don't exactly lack for tunes to do a full-length concert of their own. To get you in the mood to boogie, here's video off ZZ Top's recent concert DVD for "Sharp Dressed Man". (YouTube)





Saskatchewan Book Awards

Last night at Conexus Arts Centre the 17th annual Saskatchewan Book Awards gala was held. Book of the Year honours were captured by Margaret Hryniuk and Frank Korvemaker for their lushly illustrated Legacy of Stone: Saskatchewan's Stone Buildings (Coteau Books).

Other big winners included Wilfred Burton and Anne Patton, who received three awards (Publishing, First People's Publishing and First People's Writing) for Dancing in My Bones (Gabriel Dumont Institute); and Trevor Herriot, who garnered two awards (Non-Fiction and Regina Book) for Grass, Sky, Song: Promise and Peril in the World of Grassland Birds (HarperCollins). Connie Gault, meanwhile, captured the Fiction prize for Euphoria: A Novel (Coteau Books).

For a complete list of winners in the 14 categories visit www.bookawards.sk.ca

Pick of the Day: Grey Cup

Not technically in Regina, but half the city's probably in Calgary for the game, and it is on TV, so what the hell.

At the beginning of the week, the Riders were nine-point underdogs. Since then, the point spread's held steady. For a title game, that's pretty big. It's hard to argue with bettors though. It's not that the Riders are a bad team, far from it. While they had their ups and downs this year, they definitely exceeded even the most optimistic fan's expectations. Montreal, though, has been dominant all season long. They come into the game healthy, and as their 56-18 evisceration of the B.C. Lions last week would seem to indicate, they are playing at a very high level.

From a distance, it might seem like we're in for a repeat of 1997. That year, the Riders finished third, but with QB Reggie Slack running with authority, they were able to sneak past Calgary and Edmonton in the West semi-final and final. By that point, though, Slack was pretty banged up, and the Riders were no match for the Doug Flutie-led Toronto Argonauts who prevailed 47-23 in the Grey Cup in Edmonton.

The result could be the same this year, I suppose. As a team, Montreal is certainly on par with the Argos. But whereas the Riders' '97 Grey Cup appearance might be classed a fluke, this year's team deserves to be in Calgary as West division champions. Darian Durant has matured greatly as a QB this season, and as a team, the Riders are playing much better football than they were Aug. 21 when they lost to the Alouettes 34-25 in Montreal. That extends beyond the offence too. Special teams, led by returner Jason Armstead, have stepped up, and the defence was dominant in the last two games against the potent Calgary Stampeders offence.

Add in a boisterous pro-Rider crowd, and a tendancy Montreal's exhibited over the last number of years of not always playing their best football in the title game, and Riders just might have a shot.

Game time on TSN is 5:30 p.m. And for those of you who aren't big into football, Canuck indie rockers Moneen are at the Exchange tonight with Passenger Action and Sights & Sounds. Here's the video for Moneen's "Hold That Sound" off their 2009 album The World I Left Behind. (YouTube)

As well, head-bangers Municipal Waste, backed up by The Accused, are at Riddell Centre. Here's the video for "Sadistic Magician"off their 2008 album The Art of Partying. (YouTube)

Ed. Note: the Municipal Waste gig has been cancelled. The Moneen show, though, is still a go.


Coco Avant Chanel

I caught this biopic about famed French designer Coco Chanel (1883-1971) at a packed RPL Theatre last night. It stars French actress Audrey Tautou as Chanel, and focuses on the early part of her life. It begins, in fact, with her being dropped off with her sister at a convent at age ten. Raised from that point by nuns (whose austere black habits very definitely influenced her stripped down approach to fashion later in life), Chanel and her sister became cabaret performers after leaving the convent. Both caught the eye of French aristocrats, and lived for a time as kept women. Because of their low social standing, they were not considered to be marriage material, however, and Coco eventually spurned her lover and established herself as a much-sought-after hat and dressmaker in Paris where she began to build her fashion empire. Overall, definitely a film worth seeing, both from a fashion perspective, and for the insight it offers into the class system that existed in pre-WWI Europe. When the 2010 Academy Award nominations are announced Coco Avant Chanel should receive consideration for Best Foreign Language Film. It should also, unfortunately, be a shoo-in for a Hackademy Award (USA Today). Yeah, for that generation of women, smoking was a sign of rebellion. And Chanel was certainly a rebel. But to reinforce that I'm not sure it was necessary to show Tautou with a cigarette in practically every scene. Beauty, fashion, romance and cigarettes--overall, a pretty intoxicating mix. Anyway, here's the trailer for the film which plays tonight at the RPL at 9:15 p.m. and Sunday at 7 p.m. (YouTube)

Saturday Anger-Making News Bummers

A couple short updates before I plunge back into the editing maelstrom.

First, yesterday the Supreme Court ruled on a Wal-Mart labour controversy. Followers of the story will recall the corporate department store chain shut down a Jonquière, Quebec store in 2005 after its employees formed a union. The employees howled union-busting but Wal-Mart said pffft, the store just wasn't profitable. The case slithered up the legal food chain to the Supreme Court--and yesterday that court ruled with Wal-Mart. So much for activist judges. (Montreal Gazette)

Second, freedom of speech fans have a new one to get worked up about. On Wednesday night a U.S. journalist was harrassed at the border by Canadian guards who, according to the reporter, obsessively demanded to know if she was going to talk about the Olympics while in Canada. Amy Goodman, the host of the U.S. radio program Democracy Now was travelling to speak at well-known radical terrorist institution the Vancover Public Library to promote her new book, Breaking The Sound Barrier. The incident stinks. It sounds like border guards were paranoid about criticism of the Olympics and wanted to stifle it. This is crap and there need to be a full investigation. Canada is not a country that should be harrassing journalists. You can read the Globe and Mail story here, and here's the blog entry on the Democracy Now website.

UPDATE: And here's a link to Rabble's comprehensive coverage, which includes audio of Goodman.

Saturday Morning Cartoon

Wes Anderson's latest film is a stop motion animated version of Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr. Fox - which opens in wide release this week.

Way, way back in 1930, Wladyslaw Starewicz, the grand master of animation created what was the sixth full length animated feature length film Le roman de Renard (The Tale of the Fox). It would have been the fourth, but it wasn't released until 1937 because of soundtrack problems.

The film is based on the old story about Renard the Fox. The film is beautifully animated and clearly the style influenced Anderson's latest film.

Pick of the Day: Saskatchewan Book Awards

Faces a little bit tougher competition than usual this weekend, what with the Riders playing in the Coupe Gris against the Montreal Alouettes in Calgary tomorrow, but for seventeen years now the Saskatchewan Book Awards have been a highlight of the fall arts calendar. MC'ing tonight's gala at Conexus Arts Centre will be CBC Radio's Sheila Coles. Guest-speaker is Saskatchewan-born and Alberta-based author Rudy Wiebe (pictured). Up for grabs will be fourteen awards. Many of the nominees this year are veteran members of the Sask-Lit community. Included in that number is prairie dog dining critic Dave Margoshes who is nominated for two awards (Regina Book and Poetry) for The Horse Knows the Way. Now I know what you're wondering. You've got Dave, he's a dining critic. He's writing about horses. Is there any chance -- No! None. Nada. Zilch.

Now, if we were called chien du prairie and were based out of Paris, or perhaps even Montreal, although that would probably be stretching it, the likelihood of there being a connection between Dave's book and his monthly column would be substantially greater. But we're a Regina mag. And while more exotic type meats are creeping onto the menus of Regina restaurants, horse, at least thus far, isn't one of them.

And no, I don't know what's on the menu at the pre-awards dinner tonight. Something quite tasty, I imagine. So good luck to all the nominees. It's not easy being a writer these days. If you delve into literacy stats, an astonishing 48 per cent of adult Canadians (according to one recent study), lack adequate prose and document reading skills, while almost 40 per cent of youth under 15 are similarly handicapped. Then there are people who are functionally literate, but more or less choose not to read. Still you, and us here at prairie dog, persevere.

To celebrate our obstinance, here's a the trailer for the 2000 biopic The Quills about the 18th century French writer Marquis de Sade starring Geoffrey Rush and Kate Winslett. (YouTube)


FRIDAY AFTERNOON KITTY! (Inappropriate pets edition!)

So we're all still lactating over last week's edition of Friday Afternoon Kitty. In my hormone addled state, I present more gorgeous babies that shouldn't be cuddled.

Babies! Aw!

Six In The Morning

1 HORRIBLE HORRIBLE HORRIBLE Awfulness and arrests at the Toronto Humane Society. Suddenly I feel like writing a check to our local humane society. (Toronto Star)

2 BUT I THOUGHT EVERYTHING WAS ALWAYS THE FAULT OF UNIONS? Nortel hands out executive bonuses, screws workers over. (CBC)

3 ONE YEAR LATER It's the one-year anniversary of the Liberal/NDP/Bloc coalition that would've given the majority of Canadian voters who didn't vote for Stephen Harper direct representaion in government. But no everybody threw a tantrum and now democracy is ruined. Nice going. (Globe And Mail)

4 UGANDA VEERS FROM CIVILIZATION Batshit insane and evil legislation would spark a "gay witch hunt" and lead to lynchings, arrests, imprisonment and the death penalty for being gay, talking about homosexuality and not ratting people out. So where are the outraged Christian leaders? (Guardian)

5 CANADA VEERS FROM CIVILIZATION Scientists and politicians say we should be kicked out of the Commonwealth because our track record on global warming is so bad. (Guardian)

6 CITY UNION BACKS REGINA REC PLAN Read all about it. (Leader-Post)

Pick of the Day: Peter Pan

Since the late '90s the Globe Theatre has scheduled a family-friendly musical in the run-up to Christmas as a way of celebrating the holiday season and heightening the theatre's profile in the city. It used to be something of a tradition, in fact, for us to do a cover story on the production. The Secret Garden. Beauty & the Beast. The Hobbit. All were featured in our magazine.

Gradually, though, we lost our enthusiasm for doing that. It's not that we dislike musicals. Even family-friendly ones. Although, I guess, in all truthfulness, we're not really a family-friendly magazine. Judging from our Facebook page, we have plenty of fans among high school and university students. With most of the stuff we write about, they'd qualify as a target market. Elementary school students, however, and pre-schoolers, aren't really on our radar. Oh, when something like the Backyardigans or Doodlebops pass through town we'll list them in our 14 Days section. But we're not likely to spill any more ink on them, unless its along the lines of a story like the one Rosie did a few years ago where he excoriated the Wiggles I think it was for their overly sophisticated approach to marketing to children.

I myself, when doing the Beauty & the Beast feature five or six years ago, had great fun talking with University of Regina English prof Nick Ruddick about the historical significance of fairy tales in our culture and how they were once intended to instruct children in the harsh realities of life. In the modern era, though, thanks to Disney and other purveyors of family-friendly pap, most of the stories had been watered down and recast as feel-good narratives of the happily ever after variety.

Peter Pan, which is on at the Globe until Dec. 27, offers similarly rich ground for socio-cultural analysis. In fact, the term Peter Pan Syndrome has even been coined by pop psychologists to describe men who, through their lack of emotional engagement with the adult world and pursuit of typically adolescent activities, refuse to grow up. Had I done a feature on this musical, that's likely the angle I would have exploited.

That's not going to happen, though. To conclude this post, here's a scene from Disney's 1954 animated classic Peter Pan that probably didn't make the cut in the Globe production. (YouTube)


Climate Rap: Monckton Vs. Gore

This is just too good.

I was a little worried this was going to be one of those bullshit "both opinions have merit" things, especially since it was pretty obvious the writers of this brilliant video were going to rip Al Gore. But actually, it's more than reasonable: they portray Gore as kind of a dick connected to the wealthy and powerful who wrecked the climate, and Monckton as a raving and manipulative upper-class twit. And climate change? Of course it's happening. Sounds about right to me. The short is the work of The Juice Media. Here's the Guardian's story on this video, and here's the creator's Yootube page.

Six In The Morning

1 HOCKEY PLAYER WITH FAMOUS DAD LEAVES CLOSET No idea how an editor who follows the NHL like a maniac missed this story from Tuesday about Toronto Maple Leaf Brian Burke's now-openly gay son, but shit happens I guess. (ESPN) Anyway, good news for civilization and people having the freedom to be who they are. Now let's see some honesty from NHL players. When even Don Cherry says he doesn't care if hockey players are gay, it's time. Oh, you can read more on this here. (Globe And Mail)

2 CONVICTED MASS MURDERER ROBERT PICKTON GETS APPEAL ON LAME TECHNICALITY Story here. Sometimes it's a real drag living in a country that respects the rule of law. (The Province)

3 SEX WORKER DEFENDS JOHNS Interesting read on a controversial topic--the decriminalization or legalization of prostitution. Maybe legal, paid sex would've protected women somewhat from monsters like Pickton? (The Georgia Straight)

4 ANOTHER THREAT FROM CLIMATE CHANGE Northern communities are literally not built to cope with it, says a federal advisory board. (CBC)

5 THE RED CROSS WAS WORRIED ABOUT TORTURE. WHY NOT THE FOREIGN MINISTER'S OFFICE? News like this makes it really embarrassing to decent Canadians that the resurgent Conservatives are leading in polls. (Toronto Star)

6 GREY CUP SEX: YES OR NO? The Leader-Post prints a stupid, purile story that I only read to the end because I was so disgusted with how far journalism has fallen. And also because the word "sex" was in the headline. (Leader-Post)

Pick of the Day: Physics Lecture

This month, the University of Regina Physics Department has presented three lectures that might well be sub-titled Physics for Dummies. Nov. 19, Dinesh Singh presented Albert Einstein's Legacy and the Future: The Search for Signs of Quantum Gravity in which he reviewed the impact of Einstein's 1915 publication of his General Theory of Relativity and ongoing efforts by physicists to discover the force that binds particles together on the subatomic level.

The week previous George Lolos had discussed the search physicists are currently engaged in to identify the hundreds of subatomic particles like quarks, leptons, gluons, photons and the like that, along with protons, neutrons, electrons, are the building blocks of matter.

Tonight at 7 p.m. in RIC 119 the series concludes with this talk by Edward Mathie titled Saskatchewan Uranium Issues: Nuclear Physics for the Public. According to his bio, Mathie was one of the 12 men appointed by the Wall government to the Uranium Development Partnership -- the group that produced the by now largely discredited report recommending that Saskatchewan move aggressively to deepen its involvement in the uranium and nuclear industry to the extent of building two big-ass reactors for power generation and even supporting the establishment of a nuclear waste disposal site up north.

When Dan Perrins was conducting his review of the UDP report in May-June I sat in on two sessions. Not for one second would I characterize the people who opposed the recommendations as Luddites intent on returning Saskatchewan to some imagined pre-industrial utopia. Rather, they were highly intelligent and committed people who offered cogent critiques of virtually every aspect of what, by any objective standard, was a deeply flawed process where a panel composed almost exclusively of uranium and nuclear advocates purported to lay out a roadmap for the province's energy future via a biased report that exaggerated potential problems and costs associated renewables and downplayed nuclear's sorry track record related to cost overruns and technological breakdowns.

Now, of course, the government is engaged in a broader review of energy policy that at least opens the door to the possibility of renewables being part of the mix. It'll be interesting to see what Mathie will say in his lecture. From where I sit, nuclear is a dying industry and if the province really wants to get ahead of the curve and secure for itself a truly sustainable energy supply then investment in renewables is the way to go. But we shall see.

Being generally pro-science, I'm reluctant to engage in scare-mongering. So for your bemusement only I offer up this trailer for the classic 1955 Sci-Fi flick Them. It's not as alarmist as the cover story Paul did on our dystopian nuclear future back in August, but for now it will have to do.


The Solution To Child Poverty?

It's a no-brainer, says Ed Broadbent. Tax the wealthiest of us more. (Globe And Mail)

I got Nothin'. Nothin.'

Harper praises press freedom in a speech, then refuses to speak to reporters. (CTV)

Six In The Morning

1 SARAH PALIN SAYS WE SHOULD SCRAP MEDICARE The self-described common-sense conservative tells Marg Delahunty (AKA Mary Walsh) that Canadians deserve a free-market healthcare system (Canoe). Like the U.S. one, which leaves somewhere around 46 million Americans without coverage (Gallup poll) and is responsible for an estimated 62.1 per cent of 1.5 million U.S. bankruptcies (CNN).

2 MAYBE POLITICIANS DID KNOW ABOUT THE TORTURE Canada's Foreign Affairs office was sent details on transfered Afghanistan prisoners being tortured. But did Minister Peter Mackay know? That is the question. Meanwhile, e-mails show that Ottawa was worried about the torture question back in 2007 (Globe And Mail). Finally, over half of Canadians believe prisoners were tortured. Reality isn't something we get to vote on--it doesn't matter what people believe, what matters is what the evidence shows--but this does suggest there's a PR problem for the Conservative government. (CBC)

3 SASKATCHEWAN INTRODUCES TICKET LEGISLATION The new rules are meant to cut down on companies and people reselling tickets to major events at huge profits. But they don't outlaw reselling tickets at a profit. (Leader-Post)

4 OBAMA'S GOING TO COPENHAGEN! Just announced, tickets to go on sale soon I'm sure. (New York Times)

5 HOW TO TELL YOU'RE A CONSERVATIVE The Republican Party has a list (New York Times, again). How do you score? I got zero out of 10. Sounds like energy corporation Shell might fail #3. (Guardian)

6 BABOON BANDITS! My opposition to monkeys is reinforced by this report on the scoundrels' organized criminal activities. Down with all monkeys. Feed 'em to the cute cuddly cougars, I say.(MSNBC)

Pick of the Day: As You Like It

All the world's a stage
And all the men and women merely players
They have their exits and their entrances
And one man in his time plays many parts.

Thus begins one of Shakespeare's most famous monologues. If you attend this Do-It-With-Class production of this popular pastoral comedy by the Bard, which closes a two-night run at the Conexus Arts Centre tonight, be on the lookout for it in Act II. It's spoken by Jacques, who's described in the play's synopsis as a melancholy companion to Duke Senior who's been exiled from his Duchy by his devious younger brother Frederick and is now living in the Arcadian Forest of Arden. His daughter Rosalind, who had been permitted by her uncle to remain at court because she was close friends with his only child Celia, is eventually banished herself and Celia decides to flee with her.

Both girls adopt false identities (Rosalind as a young man named Ganymede, Celia as a young woman named Aliena), and in the company of the jester Touchstone they head into the forest, where they encounter the Duke and his men. Much romantic confusion and all-round general hilarity ensues, and by the end of the play no less than four different couples are wed, and the Duke has even regained his Duchy from his recalcitrant brother.

To give you a taste, here's the trailer for a HBO version of the play directed by noted Shakespeareophile Kenneth Branaugh. (YouTube)


The Party Of Miserable, Judgemental Bastards

Conservative politicians think the unemployed are lazy. In other news, birds have beaks. (The ChronicleHerald)

The Famous Leaked Climate E-Mails

Here's George Monbiot's take. To sum up for the link-clicking averse: Those awful illegal e-mails DO expose shady scientific shenanigans--but they don't prove global warming isn't real. But they are a public relations disaster. Here's a funny joke that makes a point.

Climate Change: Much Worse than Predicted

Earlier today, 26 of the world's leading climate scientists released a report entitled The Copenhagen Diagnosis. It's an update of what we have learned about global warming since the IPCC's fourth report in 2007.

What does it tell us? That climate change is accelerating beyond all expectations.

The report took over a year to complete, and here's some of the new evidence the authors have uncovered (I'm quoting the bullet points from the press release):
  • Satellite and direct measurements now demonstrate that both the Greenland and Antarctic ice-sheets are losing mass and contributing to sea level rise at an increasing rate.

  • Arctic sea-ice has melted far beyond the expectations of climate models. For example, the area of summer sea-ice melt during 2007-2009 was about 40% greater than the average projection from the 2007 IPCC Fourth Assessment Report.

  • Sea level has risen more than 5 centimeters over the past 15 years, about 80% higher than IPCC projections from 2001. Accounting for ice-sheets and glaciers, global sea-level rise may exceed 1 meter by 2100, with a rise of up to 2 meters considered an upper limit by this time. This is much higher than previously projected by the IPCC. Furthermore, beyond 2100, sea level rise of several meters must be expected over the next few centuries.

  • In 2008 carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels were ~40% higher than those in 1990. Even if emissions do not grow beyond today’s levels, within just 20 years the world will have used up the allowable emissions to have a reasonable chance of limiting warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius.
The report concludes that if we don't take immediate action to reduce our carbon emissions, we won't be able to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

Yes, but how does that jive with what Lorne Gunter was squawking about in today's Leader Post? Well, it doesn't. Why? Because Gunter is hopelessly confused and misled on the science of climate change. (I say "confused and misled" because the alternative is that he's lying.)

Look, I just haven't got time right now to tear apart all of Gunter's latest nonsense. Suffice to say, that everytime I've gone off to fact check one of his anti-science screeds, I've found that his opinions are based on a misreading of scientific reality. Usually, all he is doing is parroting the talking points being issued from propaganda machines such as the Friends of Science.

I'll post more later. But in the meantime, you can read some actual science on climate change by reading the Copenhagen Diagnosis. Unlike this hacked-email circus Gunter was crowing about, this report is probably the most important thing you'll read about this year.

Take Two Aspirins And Read The Leader-Post In The Morning

Today the Leader-Post printed a couple of articles specifically (I suspect) to raise my blood pressure. Lucky fucking me.

First, there's this piece on Saskatchewan Conservative MP MauriceVellacott's opinion that it's just peachy how women in Saskatoon have restricted access to abortion.

The article's fine but Vellacott's views (which are of course not the Leader-Post's fault) are loathsome.

I'll say it for the one zillionth time: there's nothing wrong at all with being opposed to abortion. But when you're an elected lawmaker pushing your old-fashioned, sloppy-sentimental, anti-science and frankly medieval moral values on normal 21st century people who don't agree with them for good reasons (i.e. women's rights supercede fetal rights and when you make abortion illegal women die and in any case a fetus ISN'T A BABY you manipulative, fact-twisting propagandha-spewing dicks), you are a thug.

Unless I'm profoundly mistaken Maurice Vellacott opposes all legal abortion, period. He's an extremist. That's fine for him personally but it's disgusting that he's trying to push this junk on the rest of us.


Much worse is this opinion column by climate change unbeliever Lorne Gunter stating that global warming is a fraud.

I don't understand why the Leader-Post is printing it when anthropogenic warming is a near-universally accepted scientific fact. Would they print articles arguing the sun revolves around the earth? Would they print articles saying the earth is flat? Would they print articles saying cigarettes are safe? No they would not. They'd dismiss those as the raving of crackpots.

Yet they'll print this crap. It's ridiculous.

(You know who accepts global warming? NASA. The United Nations. Most scientists. You know who doesn't? Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh. Case closed.)

More on how Lorne Gunter is full of crap here. And here. And here. (Desmog Blog)

And here's a terrifying article in the Guardian on the consequences of decades of climate-change denial propaghanda.

Our civilization is threatened and the Leader-Post is running junk opinion columns by deluded ideologues. It's inexcusable and you should tell them so. You can send letters to the editor here.


THIS IS GOING TO GO OVER WELL … As the Liberals look like they’re about to China Syndrome, (Canadian Press) more dingbats are climbing out of the Conservative woodwork. First, a Nova Scotia MP claims unemployed Haligonas are lazy no-good bums, (Halifax Chronicle Herald) then Saskatoon area MP Maurice Vellacott takes a page from the Brad Trost playbook. (Star-Phoenix)

SUCH A WISE INVESTMENT The 80,000 seat Pontiac Silverdome, former home of the Detroit Lions, was built for $55 million when it opened in 1975 (Wikipedia). Last week, a Canadian property developer bought the stadium and the 122 acre lot on which it sits for $583,000. He was the highest bidder. (Toronto Star)

SARAH PALIN HAS FANS WHO LIKE HER BECAUSE … UMMM … at least you can understand where Miley Cyrus and Jonas Brothers fans come from. (HuffPo)

I BET THE INVESTIGATING OFFICER IS BALD … RCMP bust some guy selling lots and lots of knock-off hair curling irons. (CBC Sask)

MORE ON THE GRIT SPLIT? Norman Spector isn’t exactly known for his progressive views so anything he writes with an Liberals-look-bad tone is suspect. But if La Presse and Chantal Hebert are saying that the wife of the former Liberal leader is angry enough to join the NDP, (Globe and Mail) then it’s a good question as to why the English-language media in Canada didn’t pick up the same story from the same original source.

ANOTHER DAWG BLOG TO RECOMMEND Why isn’t a Calgary white supremacist arrested for allegedly planting a bomb not considered a terrorist? (Dawg’s Blog)

Pick of the Day: Royal Wood

In his preview of this Regina Folk Festival Concert Series gig in our Nov. 19 issue Rosie suggested that there wasn't likely to be a stampede of people heading to the Exchange tonight to catch Royal Wood. Having seen him back-up Canuck chanteuse Jill Barber at the same venue last November I have to disagree. That night, Wood won over the capacity crowd with his folksy charm and between song banter. Expect more of the same tonight when he takes the stage following a back-up set by Halifax-based bluegrass/folk artist Rose Cousins.

As Rosie also noted in his article, which he wrote despite a failed attempt to secure an interview via the Toronto-based singer/songwriter's management, Royal Wood is his real name. I can believe it. In fact, we used to have a sales rep in the office named Royal (as in the bank, he used to joke, or a royal pain-in-the-ass) Watson. True, Royal Wood stretches the bounds of credibilty a bit more than that, given that "wood" is a slang term for an erection. Nonetheless, he's a top-notch performer. To prove my point, here's the video for his song "Juliet" (YouTube)


Yeah, Right

If Sarah Palin's new biography was called Going Commando I might have considered buying it, or at least requesting a review copy from the publisher, but alas it isn't. Here's some analysis on how things have gone for her so far on her book tour through the U.S. Midwest. (YouTube)

This Week At City Hall

Monday, November 23
City Council (5:30 pm): Hot on the heels of the Rider's big finals win, Chris Szarka will be making his first appearance as a city councillor tonight. As will John Findura who didn't play in yesterday's game, but who was out for the recreation infrastructure funding announcement two weeks ago, so I got to shake his hand and chat with him a bit and he seems a nice guy, so you should come out to council to see him too.


Aaaaanyway, big items on tonight's agenda include rec infrastructure funding, an airport tax exemption bylaw, and the city manager's contract. That last item -- which includes an approximately $49,000 raise for city manager Glen Davies -- might raise some eyebrows. (L-P has it covered here.) Be interesting to see how discussion develops.

The complete agenda can be downloaded on the city's website.

Six in the Morning

1. STOLEN EMAILS POINT TO CLIMATE CHANGE CONSPIRACY???!?!? A big controversy erupted over the weekend when it was revealed on Friday that climate change deniers had come into possession of some emails between climate scientists -- 6MBs worth. They date back to the mid nineties and the climate liar crowd -- the Friends of Science (who are no friends to science) and their friends -- are crowing that this is smoking-gun proof that there's a conspiracy to suppress science that contradicts the consensus view that the globe is warming, people are the cause and the consequences could be very serious.

Problem is, there is no such smoking-gun proof in all 16 years worth of email. Worst they were able to come up with is scientists maybe being a little insensitive upon the death of a prominent climate change liar and one off-hand reference to a data-handling method as a "trick." Beyond that, nada.

For coverage on this check out Desmog Blog here and here, Deltoid here and here, and a nice satirical take on it here.

2. WHO CARES IF CANADA DAWDLES ON CLIMATE CHANGE? Well, Canadians, for one. (Globe and Mail)

3. HARPER RESPONDS TO TORTURE CHARGES WITH BULLYING: Last week, a respected Canadian diplomat, Richard Colvin, told a House of Commons committee that senior government officials were aware of the fact that Afgani prisoners were being tortured avter being turned over to local authorities by Canadian forces. He claims even people in the PM's office knew about the charges. He's a pretty reliable source and as a consequence the ruling Conservatives have responded by trying to smear his reputation. Rick Salutin calls this Canada's Abu Ghraib scandal. (rabble.ca)

4. DION'S WIFE TELLS IT LIKE IT IS? Mrs Dion posted a scathing message to Facebook (and cc'ed the Globe and Mail) saying that the Liberal party is falling apart and won't recover. (Globe and Mail)

5. WHEAT BOARD LEAK: Apparently the Canadian Wheat Board shared personal information about grain farmers with companies that buy and handle grain. (Globe and Mail)

6. PEOPLE ACTUALLY PAID MONEY TO WATCH THIS??? Apparently, the latest New Moon pictured shattered some box office records over the weekend. (Rotten Tomatoes)

B.C. Backlash

Big night in Vancouver tonight as the province's artistic community assembles to protest the recent 92 per cent cut in funding imposed on the arts by the Campbell government. Yeah, you read that right. Ninety-two per cent. (Globe & Mail)

Pick of the Day: Mind the Gap!

I wrestled a bit with the piece I wrote on Mind the Gap! for the Nov. 5 issue of prairie dog. When I dropped by the Dunlop's main gallery the week previous, I had every intention of doing a more conventional review that would recount how the curators Amanda Cachia and Jeff Nye had travelled the highways and bi-ways of Saskatchewan in search of talented young artists, talk a bit about their purpose in doing so (to dispel the notion of Saskatchewan as a cultural wasteland where nothing much happens), then briefly discuss the work of a couple or three artists in the show.

I took a quick look at the exhibition, then fell into conversation with the gallery facilitator. I was born and raised in Saskatchewan. Unlike thousands of my contemporaries who fucked off once they were done university, I never bailed on the province. Instead, I stuck it out through thick and thin. There are things I like about Saskatchewan, obviously. I wouldn't have stayed here otherwise. But there are plenty of things that drive me nuts. The facilitator and I talked about how it was an interesting moment in Saskatchewan's history. Until Rod Gantefoer's Nov. 19 budget update anyway, and its projected $1 billion shortfall, the province had been on the economic upswing. No longer was it a poor sister of Confederation. But at the same time, over the last 20 years or so, there had been a definite shift to the right in political thinking with a subsequent hardening of attitudes on a host of important issues like the environment, crime, human rights, urban sustainability, poverty and the social safety net. Judging by the poor quality of our political representation in Ottawa, and in many sectors of provincial and municipal politics, we are definitely out of step with progressive thinkers in the rest of the world.
During our conversation, the facilitator and I talked about how, while the province may have no longer been an economic backwater, it still had a long way to go before it shed its reputation as a gap province. Really, what did Mind the Gap! prove? That there's good art being made in the province. I've been writing on art for 20 years now, that's not exactly a newsflash for me. I also know that the bulk of the cultural activity that occurs here is due primarily to the hard work and dedication of artists and other workers in the cultural sector who toil for peanuts to subsidize "the arts". Not only that, time and time again we've had to fight like hell to preserve what little cultural life we actually have here: remember the struggle the MacKenzie Gallery had in the late '80s to move to a modern facility with proper environmental controls where the art wouldn't rot on the walls; or when Queer City Cinema came under attack by the provincial Conservatives in 2000 for promoting "porn"; or when the RPL Board voted to close the Dunlop Gallery in 2003 to save money; or the over 15 year struggle to win approval for Status of the Artist legislation and improved funding for the Saskatchewan Arts Board to reflect the growing importance of the arts to the province; or the campaign late Conservative MP Dave Batters (Palliser) waged in 2007 to censor Canadian films by denying tax credits to films deemed non-family friendly?
I could go on. In fact, the day before our Nov. 5 issue hit the streets, Saskatoon-Humboldt MP Brad Trost made headlines with a petition in the House of Commons to revoke funding for the international chapter of Planned Parenthood on the grounds that it supports the right of women to make choices about their reproductive health. Check out Stephen Whitworth's editorial in our Nov. 19 issue for his thoughts on that travesty.
As I noted in the article I did write on Mind the Gap! survey shows like this do not lend themselves to a conventional review. Thirty artists, maybe six or seven different media, no unifying theme or subject. Instead of just doing a lame-o Leader-Post type recap I elected to question its basic premise. To a certain extent, I agree Saskatchewan does get a bad rap in Canada. But in many ways our reputation as a gap province is richly deserved. Having had the pleasure of writing for prairie dog for over ten years now, and knowing firsthand the struggles we've had to endure over that time simply to survive as an independent media outlet in what essentially is a small town where the modus operendi for success is: to get along, you go along, and if you don't, you're dismissed and demeaned; I stand by what I wrote.

As a survey show, I have nothing against Mind the Gap! It offers a useful introduction to the work of many young artists who I'm sure we'll hearing much more from in the future (pictured above, by the way, is an image from a dream-like video by Amalie Atkins). So by all means, check it out. It runs at the Central and Sherwood Village galleries until Jan. 3.


I (Blank) Regina

This is my first blog post ever.

I’m the sort of person who quickly tires of the sound of my own voice (or the look of my own typing, as the case may be), so I can make you exactly one promise right off the bat – I won’t over-blog.

Two quick thoughts about blogs:

1.) Are you familiar with the term “sophomore slump”? This is the phenomenon in which an artist pours a lifetime of ideas and experiences into their first major work, and then chokes on the second because they already used up all their good stuff and now have to start from scratch. I could so easily start rambling here, riffing on all my thoughts and feelings and ideas and opinions... and then burn myself out and wonder what to talk about next time. Not gonna do it.

2.) When your editor asks you to contribute to a blog, and you already make part of your living as a freelance writer, isn’t that kind of like asking your buddy the massage therapist for a free foot rub? Well, maybe. But I don’t mean for this forum to replace my regular writing. I’ll just think of it as... sort of an open letter to a friend. Or a bunch of friends, most of whom I haven’t yet met.

My topic, for the first several posts anyway, will be the city I live in: Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. City Hall has been promoting an “I Love Regina” campaign for a while now (or maybe it’s called “I heart Regina”) which is a nice enough thought, but it’s really not specific enough for me. I want the gory details of what people love about Regina, and I want other people to know what I love about it too. It’s becoming too easy for a city to become homogenized and lose its identity – all the quirks and eccentricities and diamonds (in the rough or otherwise) that make it unique and, ultimately, liveable.

One of my pet peeves is people who wander around saying things like, “This town fuckin’ sucks,” and then don’t do anything about it. So even on a lousy day when I look around the city and don’t much like what I see, I force myself to look harder. I might look for gargoyles on the tops of old buildings downtown, or buy fresh marzipan squares at Oskar’s Deli and think about how no one else on the planet is eating anything quite like that at that particular moment.

And before I start rambling on that topic, I’m going to call it a day. See you next time.

Pick of the Day: Riders Vs. Stampeders

From 1967-71 the Riders and Stampeders met in five consecutive West Conference finals. This was back in the day when the final was a best two-out-of-three affair, and the teams certainly had some memorable battles. In 1967 and 1969, it was the Riders, who featured the legendary tandem of QB Ron Lancaster and RB George Reed, who emerged victorious, while in 1968 and 1970-71 it was the Stamps, who were led by the fearsome LB Wayne Harris and wily QB Jerry Keeling, who advanced to the Grey Cup. Now, after a 38-year hiatus the teams meet again in the 2009 West final.

Last week I caught the West semi-final between Calgary and Edmonton with a couple of long-time Riders fans. When I asked them which team they'd rather face in the final they were unsure. On paper, the Stamps were definitely the superior team. But the game isn't played on paper. And when Esk QB Ricky Ray is on his game, as he often seems to be against the Riders, he can pick defences apart at will.

When Stamp QB Henry Burris is on, he too is a formidable force. But if you get enough heat on him, he can be rattled. Certainly, in the first-place showdown on Nov. 7 the Riders did a fine job of containing him, and although West Conference MVP nominee Joffrey Reynolds racked up some impressive yardage, the Riders still won 30-14. If the defence can rise to the occasion again, and the offence under West all-star QB Darian Durant can move the ball effectively and avoid turnovers, the Riders have an excellent chance of winning. Last year in the West semi-final, the B.C. Lions forced two early turnovers by then Rider QB Michael Bishop that took the crowd out of the game. If that happens here, the Riders could be in trouble. One final factor in the Riders' favour is that lately they've been getting some big plays on special teams. If Jason Armstead manages to break a return or three, it will go a long way to helping the Riders win the field position battle. Kick-off at Mosaic Stadium is 3:30 p.m.

Assuming the Riders win, and you're in the mood for a post-game party (or if they lose and you want to drown your sorrows) The Arkells are playing with the Novaks at the Exchange tonight. Here's the video for "The Ballad of Hugo Chavez" off the former's second album Jackson Square. (YouTube)


Saturday Morning Cartoon

What great bit of vintage animation will the prairie dog feature this Saturday, you ask? Does the Three Robonic Stooges in Canada count?

No. I didn't think so.

Pick of the Day: Cold Souls

The thing that pisses me off most about market fundamentalism is that it turns everything (and everybody) into a commodity. Under this "philosophy" if you can't put a price tag on something, it has no value. I also reject the idea that the market, by allowing people to act on their self-interest in competition with each other under the constraints of the law of supply and demand, functions as some sort of super-efficient mechanism for allocating scarce resources (the so-called "invisible hand" that Adam Smith wrote of in the 18th century).

To begin with, markets focus on short-term outcomes. But what's good for a person/corporation/society short-term does not automatically translate into medium and long-term well-being. Currently, we have a system that rewards uber-selfish greedheads who have no qualms about grabbing as much as they can, and when called on their bullshit behaviour, they simply shrug and say they're charging what "the market" will bear. And if you happen to be a person who doesn't base their entire self-worth on the amount of money you've been able to accumulate, and baubles of conspicuous consumption you've been able to buy, and instead prefer to strive for personal fulfillment and the long-term best interest of society? Well, what do you know you pinko commie bastard?

I'm paraphrasing there. But I'm sure you're familiar with the rhetoric.

What does the above rant have to do with Cold Souls, which screens tonight at the RPL at 9 p.m. and tomorrow at 7 p.m.? Usually in our society, the idea of a "soul" is confined to religion. But for me, "soul" has a much broader meaning, encompassing a sense of social responsibility, and a recognition that while material needs are important, they do not define all that we are as human beings.

Probably the biggest existential crisis our culture faces is the need to realize that seeking self-fulfillment through material gain is an impossible proposition. We can never have it all. There's always a new product, a new service, being rolled out. It's the nature of our modern economy. True peace of mind stems not from having more than everyone else, and lording it over everyone with obscene displays of conspicuous consumption, but from being true to yourself, and not compromsing your principles in the pursuit of short-term rewards that are largely illusory anyway.

The challenge, of course, for those who wish to protect and nurture their souls is how to do so when we live in what amounts to a soul-destroying world. In this surreal U.S./French co-production directed by Andrij Parekh, Paul Giamatti stars as an actor in rehearsal for a production of Chekov's Uncle Vanya who decides to seek relief from the burden of his soul by visiting a New York company that specializes in the extraction and storage of souls.

Intrigued? Here's the trailer. (YouTube)


New Dog!

The new prairie dog should be just about everywhere by now. It's not too bad. You should grab a free copy. There's a thing on football, a report on the Saskatchewan government, a whole pile of stories on the Saskatchewan publishing scene, a really cranky column by John Conway, a super-snarky editorial by me that's a little wordy but overheats nicely by the end, a better-than usual letters page, Gwynne Dyer on the Fort Hood massacre, David Suzuki on the ocean ecosystem massacre, a preview of some of the bands playing soon, a bunch of movie and CD reviews and OF COURSE regulars like News Quirks, 14 Days, Queen City Confidential, a bunch of Top 6s, My Music and Street Wear.

The whole thing is more fun that a knapsnack of extra-cute kittens. Give a prairie dog a home today. Available at over 400 locations city-wide.

The Afternoon News

1 MURRAY MANDRYK TEARS THE SASK PARTY A NEW ASSHOLE Well said, sir. (Leader-Post) And here's my own editorial comment: is there anyone out there who doesn't honestly believe the NDP would've managed this situation better? Seriously? Because they would have. by far. They've earned their gloat. besides, the Sask. Party proved Sask. voters respond to attack politics. Karma's a bitch.

2 REGINA RECREATION PLAN A-COMING Much ado about hockey rinks and stuff like that. (CBC)

3 MORE MONEY FOR MELTDOWNS Right now if a Canadian nuclear reactor goes kerblooey, it's only liable for a maximum $75 million in damages. The government--in fact, the Conservative government, which readers may recall I slightly despise--is bringing in legislation to raise that limit to $650 million. Critics say it's not high enough, and they're probably right. But this sounds to me like a step in the right direction. So credit where due: good for Stephen Harper. (The Globe And Mail)

4 THEN AGAIN, THERE'S THAT WHOLE TORTURE THING The Toronto Star's editorial board slams the Conservatives for their reaction to Afghan prisoner torture revelations. (Toronto Star)

5 MONTREAL CAFES TORCHED, AND IT LOOKS SUSPICIOUS Molotov cocktails and mysteriously silent victims? Sounds like something from an early Scorsese movie to me. (CP/Winnipeg Free Press)

6 OPRAH'S GOING BYE-BYE Thanks to the power of prayer, apparently. (New York Times)

Friday Afternoon Kitty!

Special Call Of The (not so) Wild edition!

1.) A cougar! Being cute!

2.) Bobcat! Purring for two minutes! It just goes on and on! SOOOO HAPPY!

3.) Baby Black Panthers! Squeal!

4.) Extreme cougar violence! Adorable!

DISCLAIMER: Don't adopt a pet big cat. Even if they are totally woogy-boogy cute-ums. There is a 99.999999999% chance it's a terrible idea. They pee on EVERYTHING.

Pick of the Day: Genesis

It's a busy night in Regina. To begin with, Vancouver-based indie rockers Mother Mother, who you might remember from their main stage performance at the 2007 Regina Folk Festival, are playing a 19+ gig at Riddell Centre. To give you a taste of what they have to offer, here's the video for the title track off their 2008 album O My Heart (YouTube)

Local favourites The Polymaths, who graced the stage along with Rah Rah and These Estates at prairie dog's 15th anniversary party in February 2008, have a CD release scheduled for tonight at O'Hanlon's Pub. I wasn't able to dig up any video of the band on YouTube. I did learn, though, of the existence of a death metal band called The Polymath. Don't confuse the two. While a rockin' good band, The Polymaths won't make your ears bleed -- trust me. For more info on the band, which includes Craig Fink, Matthew Blackwell, Jenn Bergen, Patrick Barks and John Cameron, check out James Brotheridge's preview in our Nov. 19 issue.

Finally, tonight and tomorrow night at the Performing Arts Centre the Youth Ballet Company of Saskatchewan (pictured above) is presenting it's annual fall recital. A mix of contemporary dance and classical ballet works, Genesis, as the title implies, also marks a new beginning for the company. After 15 years at the helm, Connie Moker-Wernikowski stepped down as artistic director this spring. She was replaced by Richard Zimich.

To ease the transition, Zimich was joined this fall by guest artist-in-residence Karen Rose from Toronto. Works choreographed by both her and Zimich will be featured in Genesis. Also on the bill are excerpts from Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake. To whet your appetite, here's an excerpt from a 2004 performance of the former ballet by the Dutch National Ballet in Amsterdam. (YouTube)


Where Are The Women?

Dog Blog has over 60 posts this month. Only one is by a female contributor. This is ridiculous. Anyone have suggestions on how to fix our blog's heinous gender imbalance?

UPDATE: A friend just made the obvious suggestion: "encourage more women to write for Dog Blog." Good idea--why didn't I think of that? (Theory: I'm stupid. Fact: I have! But maybe I'm not trying hard enough. And I'm just stupid-looking, thank you.)

And so:

Are you a woman writer? Are you looking for the fame and glory that comes with contributing to a Regina, Saskatchewan blog read by LITERALLY HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE EVERY DAY? If so, we should talk. Dog Blog is looking to add one or two female writers who will contribute a minimum of two posts a week, because right now we're a total sausage factory and that sucks. We need smart people with strong writing skills and a voice that's compatible with what we're trying to do here (funny, insightful, informative, conversational, forward-looking, progressive). This is an unpaid opportunity (welcome to the realities of writing in the internet age), but strong writers will undoubtedly earn opportunities for paid freelance writing in our print magazine.

If you're interested e-mail us at freelance@prairiedogmag.com. Write DOG BLOG in the subject field, please. And please include short writing samples or links to same.

The Final Word On Carrie Prejean

Wondering what to make of fired, disgraced and all-around tragic beauty queen and right-wing, Christian faux-martyr Carrie Prejean after sex pics and vids showed her to be a double-talking hypocrite who opposes same-sex marriage and showing off one's body but took pics of herself masturbating and sent them to the boyfriend she wasn't married to? I don't think you'll find a better summary than this one by Seattle editor, pundit and sex columnist Dan Savage. A quote:

And now we have proof that the person Prejean pretended to be after that pageant—the good Christian girl with a strong moral code who was chosen by God to stick it to the homos—doesn't jibe with the person she was before the pageant, i.e. a highly sexual and sexually active young woman with breast implants and a string of ex-boyfriends to her name. Carrie Prejean was not the very model of modern right-wing Christian conservatism that she pretended to be to ingratiate herself with the likes of Maggie Gallagher. She was an average young American woman, a little prettier and dimmer than most, with sexual urges and desires and agency. She was just another young woman aware of her own erotic power, a young woman with a digital camera, another young woman sexting her boyfriend because it turned her on to turn him on.

Worth 10 minutes of your time if this is a topic you're even slightly interested in.

Six In The Morning

1 WE MUST HAVE 1.8 BILLION LYING AROUND HERE SOMEWHERE Thanks to incredible, shrinking potash revenues, Saskatchewan moves into budget deficit. NDP to have a field day in the legislature in 5... 4... 3... 2... 1... (CBC)

2 HOTEL GROUP PLEDGES $10 MILLION FOR DOME Read about it here in the Leader-Post. This was before the news, by the way. (Leader-Post)

3 FOOD BANK USE RISING IN REGINA It's true. But I thought that if the economy was strong everything else would take care of itself. (Leader-Post)

4 IS CANADA COMPLICIT IN TORTURE? Probably. (Globe And Mail)

5 CONSERVATIVE PLAY THE ISRAELI CARD Federal opposition politicians attack Tory ads for grotesquely pandering to pro-Israeli voters. (Globe And Mail)

6 DEADLY DELAY The Copenhagen collapse is bad news for green industries, because it's causing wealthy countries to dawdle on climate plans and funding. (Guardian) Case in point... (Globe And Mail)

Pick of the Day: The Trews

This gig by the Trews at the Drink Nightclub tonight is billed as a special acoustic show. Acoustic is a relative term, I suppose. At the very least, it means that bands don't resort to electric guitars and generally tone down the intensity of their sound. In front of the right audience, that can be an intriguing musical experiment. In front of the wrong audience, though, it can be a recipe for disaster.

Maybe seven years ago, I remember Feist playing a Wednesday night show at what is now the Distrikt. She hadn't hit it big yet, but she was definitely a name artist. Had she played the club on another night, I likely would have gone. But back then, Wednesday was cheap draft night, and with a bunch of people stumbling around guzzling watery beer, I knew the gig would be a joke. A subsequent conversation with a filmmaker of my acquaintence who did attend confirmed my suspicion. If memory serves, I believe Feist even cut her set short and stormed off the stage, so inattentive was the majority of the crowd.

On the other hand, I caught that legendary Supersuckers show at the same club in 2004 where their drummer got hung up at the border and Eddie Spaghetti and the boys sat down on stools and played an acoustic set that was pure magic. Then at the end, an audience member familiar with the band's then-current release The Evil Powers of Rock 'n' Roll stepped forward with an offer to sit in on drums, and the band plugged in and ripped through a six-song electric set (including the title track) to close out the show. Good times! (YouTube)

How this gig will turn out is anybody's guess. If the audience is attentive, it could be great. But if they're a bunch of loud mouth drunks, it could suck big-time. Just so you know what to expect, here's video of the Trews performing an acoustic version of "So She's Leaving" on MuchOnDemand. (YouTube)


Six in the Morning

1. U.S. SQUASHING PEAK OIL INFORMATION: A whistle blower in the International Energy Agency says the group has been downplaying signs that oil production has peaked and overestimating oil reserves because of pressure from US officials. (Guardian)

2. SCIENTOLOGY FACING TORTURE ALLEGATIONS: The Australian prime minister is contemplating launching an investigation into the activities of the Church of Scientology after a senator brings forward allegations that the church has been involved in forced abortions, assault, torture, imprisonment, covering up sexual abuse, embezzlement of church funds and blackmail

3. NATIONAL POST ADMITS CLIMATE CHANGE REAL: Mitchell Anderson at Desmogblog points out that the near-bankrupt National Post has finally, through an editorial, admitted that climate change is real, people are causing it and that it could be a danger to the planet. Of course, they go on to argue that despite all this we shouldn't do anything about climate change because the plans brought forward so far sound too much like socialism. (National Post via Desmogblog)

4. ATOM SMASHER GOOD TO GO: Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider are getting ready to flick the switch and start up their problem-plagued experiment again. (Guardian)

5. G20 MEETING MOVES: Harper plans to move the G20 meeting from the Muskoka region to Toronto. (Globe and Mail)

6. KISS DRUMMER IN BREAST CANCER SCARE: Peter Criss -- Kiss' Cat Man behind the drumkig -- tells of how in 2007 he discovered he had breast cancer. (Globe and Mail)

Pick of the Day: Alex Cuba Band

I caught Alex Cuba's gig at the Exchange last October as part of the Regina Folk Festival's concert series. An ass-shaking good time was had then, and another is guaranteed tonight as the master practitioner of jazz fusion returns to the Exchange, again as part of the RFF's concert series.

Born Alexis Puentes in Cuba in 1974, Cuba took the stage name Alex Cuba in 1999 after moving to Canada following his marriage to a Canadian. Possessor of two Junos for Best World Music Album for Humo De Tobaco (2006) and Agua del Pozo (2008), Cuba released a third self-titled album earlier this year. He also co-wrote and recorded a duet with Nelly Furtado called "Mi Plan" which ended up being the title track on her new album.

Backing up Alex Cuba tonight is Andy Shauf. Here's video of Cuba and his band performing the song "Dime Si Despues" (YouTube)


Rosie LaRose’s Top Six in the A.M.

PRETTY VACANT Carrie Prejan became an internet sensation after a) competing as Miss California in the Miss America beauty pageant b) denouncing gay marriage on the Q&A part c) stripped of the Miss California title (no, not THAT stripped) and d) with acting like a Church Lady, becoming a darling of the American right wing movement. Until now. It turns out that she made at least eight sex tapes (radar.com) before discovering the pageant circuit. Apparently, gay marriage isn't acceptable: getting breast implants in Jesus' name is (HuffPo). Don't recall learning that in Sunday School ...

THE FIRE SALE STARTS IN FOUR, THREE, TWO … The result of the Sask. Party spending spree over the past two years makes me think of disaster capitalism – and if there isn’t a disaster, make one. Bill Hutchinson is denying that the Saskatchewan government is in Stage Two by saying Casinos Regina and Moose Jaw aren’t for sale. (L-P) My advice to SIGA: wait.

SEE WHAT A LITTLE BOOKLEARNING WILL GET YA A ten-year-old kid in Arkansas says he won't recite the Pledge of Allegiance with the rest of his class at school because the government won't grant equal rights to gays and lesbians, and the notion of 'equal justice for all,' therefore, is a lie. And he won't tell a lie. (Progressive Puppy) Smart kid. The odds that the school district, the Christopunks in the playground, and the Faux News Network will conspire to make his life a living hell are, what, even? Just kidding. (hat tip to Red Tory)

SO WHAT IF ATLAS SHRUGGED? Ayn Rand is one of those so-called thinkers who have influenced everybody from Allan Greenspan to Neal Peart, usually for the worse. Johann Hari reviews two new biographies of the woman whose amphetamine-fuelled humanity-basking exercises made her the darling of the neo-conservative movement, and how her political system is more like Marxist-Leninism than her boosters let on. (Slate)

FEAR FACTOR The American government is planning to bring the alleged chief conspirator behind 9/11 to New York for trail, which has set off the American conservative moment, who are saying he shouldn’t be brought into the country for a court date. Well, if the rule of law can’t be brought against someone who breaks the law, then the terrorists have won – by the government conducting itself like terrorists. (Attackerman)

INSERT DIRK DIGGLER SMART-ASS REFERENCE HERE What the …. Well, I don’t know anybody that would be wearing these, unless it was someone trying to hide their colostomy bag in their pants. (Revolving Clothing)

Waste Plan Open Houses

Tomorrow evening, the city will begin it's next round of consultations for it's Waste Plan Regina. You'll be getting a chance to review the three options for improving our waste management system. If you're one of those folk who think the way the city handles garbage could be improved (like, say, by incorporating curbside recycling) it's pretty important to attend one of these meetings and make your feelings heard.

From what I've heard, councillors, consultants and city staff are pretty confident that at the end of this process, we will be getting curbside recycling. I hope they're right but I have to say I'm dubious. I'm worried the cheapskates who're always chanting "hold the line on property taxes" will rule the day and we'll wind up, once again, with no recycling program to speak of.

If you can't make it out to one of the Waste Plan open houses, you can at least fill out the questionnaire on the city's website. If you do want to make it to an open house here's the list of dates, times and locations.
Wednesday, November 18: 
South Leisure Centre
, Gymnasium, 
170 Sunset Drive
, 5:30-8 pm

Tuesday, November 24: 
City Hall, 
3 to 6pm

Thursday, November 26: 
Glencairn Neighbourhood 
Recreation Centre
, Large Meeting Room
, 2626 Dewdney Avenue E, 

Wednesday, December 2
: Cathedral Neighbourhood
 Centre, Multipurpose Room
, 2900 - 13th Avenue
, 5:30-8pm

Wednesday, December 9
: North West Leisure Centrem 
1127 Arnason Street
, 5:30-8pm
If you want more detail on what's being considered waste-plan-wise, you can read a summary on the city's website.